In the middle of Miami’s Art District lurks a different kind of night owl. III Points Music, Art + Technology Festival has sprung up with a stranger sort of vibe. The all-night affair lures outsiders of all flavors into its concrete embrace for three nights of weekend weirdness.
In 2017, the fest celebrated its five-year anniversary with a stellar lineup including Lil B, Skepta, Bonobo and Nicolas Jaar live, Richie Hawtin, The xx and Gorillaz. It also sold out at 15,000 people a day for the first time in the festival’s history.
All that music paired with local talent and trippy visuals at every turn made for a memorable experience. It’s a distinctly Miami vibe, full of colorful people and crazy characters. These were some of our favorite moments from the weekend.
Interstellar Space Butts With Barclay Crenshaw
Barclay Crenshaw is Dirtybird’s Claude VonStroke getting his hip-hop on. The project launched with a debut album in January, and it’s been an evolving live set since, but the freaky, beat-heavy set at III Points on Friday (Oct. 13) was definitely the work of an idea that has finally come to fruition. His performance bumped like a UFO tricked out with hydraulics. Even some kids who made it to the Campout had to call this set one of the illest. When you come to III Points, you come correct.
DBZ Singalong with Thundercat
?Brainfeeder’s resident jazz bassist graced the stage in a bathrobe and ripped through some killer bass fills, but the highlight for us nerds was the five minute discussion of Dragon Ball Z. Thundercat is very excited for the new Fighter game coming in 2018, so excited, he led the crowd in a sing-along of “Goku fucking rules.” Then we all went super saiyan on the groove.
The Best Hula-Hooper on the Planet, Period
Sorry, every other hooper ever: It’s been a good run, but you can pack it in. This kid is undoubtedly the best hula king to ever swing the ring. He’d roll up to various stages in his gleaming white underpants, throw his hoop yards into the air and catch it on an outstretched leg, then bend down into a yogic triangle and keep it spinning there on his calf. People formed giant circles just to marvel at him, mouths agape. It’s was otherworldly. Kind of hoping III Points puts him on the payroll next year.
Flocks of Freaky People Funkin’ Around
No festival draws a witchier crowd than III Points. Tropical goth is a real movement in Miami. Skinny beautiful people stalking around in slinky black, despite the oppressive humidity. Drag queens with scruffy beards drown in glitter riptides, weaving in and out of the crowds with a swiftness that says “I have somewhere important to be looking this radical.” Baby-faced teenagers in Gorillaz shirts wandering wide-eyed from band to band, ready to have their minds blown with music. It was normcore and anime hair and ’90s throwback everywhere you looked. The fashion was certainly fierce with this one.
Lil B, The Real Prettiest Bitch
Lil B the Based God came through to show III Points how a Master Chef works the stage. He led the crowd in a chant of “ill points,” which would have been a mistake for anyone but the Based God. His stage overflowed with energy, his beats banged hard through the Main Frame stage’s hot, sweaty dark box of a room. In real life, his music sounds significatly less like it was recorded in a first-gen iPhone, though Lil B is just a lovable on stage as he is on social media. “Who is gonna get a picture with me after this?” He asked. Everyone was equally hopeful.
Mirror, Mirror On the Ball, Who’s The Largest Of Them All?
III Points sees your disco ball and raises it to skyscraper proportions. It’s been joked that the crane is Miami’s official bird. It only made sense to use the construction aid as a discotizer for the made-in-Miami fest. This giant behemoth weighs 750 pounds, and loomed above the Mind Melt main stage crowd every night at a dizzy feet. It may have spooked a few kids from standing underneath, but it really elevated the light shows every time the bright whites blinged off its sides, spinning and swirling around the industrial space to make everyone “ooh” and “ahh” with audible delight.
Perfume Genius’ Wiry Slow Burn
Even if you’d never heard this Seattle singer’s slinky synth groove, you’d still fall victim to his smooth moves. He sashayed across the stage with commanding poise, and when he started stripping out of shiny gold jacket, the whole place was downright in love. You’ve never seen someone get low like this, limbs grinding in a figure 8, voice ringing like a siren’s call. He started with a small crowd just after sunset and worked the Mind Melt arena into a small frenzy all his own, exactly what you’re looking for to get the last day of a festival started right.
BadBadNotGood Slaying in the Rain
Psych-jazz-jam darlings BadBadNotGood took III Points on an epic journey of sight and sound, but the band also took the crowd through a tunnel of love. The frontman instructed everyone to throw their hands skyward and wiggle them side to side. We complied, of course. It doesn’t look stupid if everybody does it. “We’re emanating love,” he told us. “Nothing but love.” And for a brief sliver of time, the world was alright.
Brian Eno’s sound installation “The Ship” was one of the headier art offerings at this year’s III Points. Various speakers were placed around the room droaning and moaning with ocean noises, but it was hard to hear over the chit-chat of festivalgoers who plopped down in the air-conditioned room to catch a breather. The whole back half of the Mana Wynwood complex was dark except for the flashes of the various installations, each one playing with geometric shapes and colors, ready to entertain any wandering mind that needed something cool to stare at for a short, sprawling eternity.
Surfin’ The Plastic Beach Waves With Gorillaz
In all the collective’s nearly 20 years, Gorillaz never made it to Florida until Friday night’s headlining set. It was a glorious victory for the fest to bring Damon Albarn and his cartoony crew. The band was joined on stage by Kali Uchis, Zebra Katz, Kilo Kish and more, but the real highlight was the very-special, one-time-only live performance of “Plastic Beach,” a song Albarn admits is tailor-made for Miami’s lifestyle. We also got a rendition of “Superfast Jellyfish.” It was a wet show, for sure.